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In hot water: The Today Show is slammed on social media for filming at Sea World as critics accuse water park of animal cruelty

October 20, 2015 by Sophie Goulopoulos  

Daily Mail Australia

Keeping marine life in captivity is an incredibly divisive issue, and this week, theToday Showhas landed in hot water after choosing to broadcast from Sea World.

Impassioned viewers inundated the breakfast show's official Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter on Monday to express their disappointment at the broadcast location, accusing the Gold Coast water park of cruelty for keeping animals in captivity.

Thousands of negative comments were made to the show's official Facebook page, despite Sea World expressing theircommitmentto animal, particularly dolphin, welfare on their website and on the show.

OneInstagramfollower commented: 'Smiling at imprisonment. What a joke, stop doing this to innocent creatures. @thetodayshow.'

On the official Facebook page, another user wrote: 'Shame on you Today show. Free the Dolphins, they deserve to live a free and happy life, not one in an enclosure.'

Though there were some messages in support of the Logie-winning Nine Network program, they were few and far between, often getting lost among the overwhelming negative rhetoric.

'Some of these animals would not survive in the wild,' wrote one supporter.

'Australia has pretty tough guidelines and none of these creatures look malnourished or mistreated to me!!! Well done Sea World, well done!!!'

Many referenced documentary films The Cove, about the Japanese dolphin slaughter, and others cited Blackfish, the tale of a Sea World Orlando killer whale that's taken the lives of several trainers.

The morning program made several attempts to appease the hostility, linking Sea World's official statement regarding their position on their animal exhibits.

'We have a strong reputation for caring for marine animals, along with an exemplary record of animal care, research and rescue accomplishments,' the statement reads.

'The health and well-being of our animals is of theutmostpriority.'

As well as the park's official statement, the show did a spotlight segment on the park's rescue andrehabilitationprogram, which acts as an ambulance service for those injured in the wild.

Footage captured by a Sea Shepherd crew showed a distressed wild dolphin snagged on a drum line, and the global marine conservation organisation called Sea World to come to the rescue.

'The aim is to send patients home,' said reporter Aislin Kriukelis, 'but it's not always possible.'

Eighteen months on, the dolphin is still a resident at the park as blindness in one eye means it would not be able to catch enough fish in the wild.

'We wouldn't release an animal back into the wild unless they were a hundred percent, because the wild's a pretty harsh place,' said another staff member.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Sea World for comment.

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